What is a Dutch Oven and why are they so popular?

Whether you’ve been a Dutch-oven devotée your whole life or you recently learned about this iconic piece of cookware, it’s hard to deny that the Dutch oven’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years. It’s easy to see why too — from baking bread to cooking for a crowd, this stylish kitchen workhorse is right at home in the modern kitchen.
What is a Dutch Oven?
In essence, a Dutch oven is a heavy-based pot with a tight-fitting lid that can maintain a consistent temperature for a long period of time. Beyond that, there actually can be a fair amount of variation when it comes to features and materials. One design, however, that has stood the test of time and is, arguably, the prime example of a Dutch oven is the round, two-handled cast iron Dutch oven. What makes cast iron Dutch ovens unique is that they are made in one piece by pouring molten iron into a mold, usually made of sand. The technique was invented in China as early as 800 BCE, and by the 1600s, The Netherlands had developed a reputation in Europe for their cast-metal cookware.

The story goes: In 1707, Englishman Abraham Darby first saw this technique used in The Netherlands, and when he got home, he patented it and named the invention a “Dutch oven.”

These sturdy and reliable cooking pots have been a kitchen staple for literally hundreds of years and (if you clean your Dutch oven properly) they last well into the future too.
What is an enameled Dutch Oven?
Over time, the classic design of a cast iron Dutch oven has been experimented with, resulting in all sorts of tweaks to the shape, size and material of the original. One particularly mentionable innovation is the addition of enamel coating.

Not only do these elegant pots come in a range of colors and finishes to suit your taste and décor, enameled cast iron Dutch ovens are easier to clean and are so good-looking that they can live on your counter.
Why are Dutch Ovens so good?
What makes Dutch ovens (also sometimes called French ovens) so enduring is their versatility. The sturdy build helps store and maintain heat, the heavy lid traps condensation and allows for more efficient heating, and the single-piece construction means Dutch ovens move easily between the cooktop and the oven. You might even call it the original multi-cooker.

In fact, any classic recipe that has you reaching for your electric slow cooker or pressure cooker was likely whipped up in Dutch oven first (boeuf bourguignon, anyone?). And even now, with all these gizmos and gadgets available, the humble Dutch oven continues to hold its own in the modern kitchen with unmatched utility and timeless style.
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